"Playing arenas is a pretty big deal," says Fall Out Boy lead guitarist Joe Trohman, speaking about the band's ongoing sold-out world tour. "Literally it’s huge – we're playing giant places – but metaphorically it feels very big, too. We don't take for granted that we've developed a very loyal audience. We're most appreciative that our fans have stayed with us."
Trohman has another reason to relish the band's arena-headline status: He now has a chance to stretch out and show off his six-string skills in a bona fide solo spot. "It's super-indulgent and goofy," he says with a self-deprecating laugh. "But I have fun. I’m sure there’s some terrible iPhone clips of it making the rounds.”
In compiling his list of 10 Essential Guitar Albums (and adding one more for a nice round number of 11), Trohman made the case that superior axe skills weren't the sole criteria guiding his choices. “Awesome guitar playing doesn’t always make for great albums," he says. "I have lots of records that have cool guitar parts, but if the songs are just OK or whatever, they’re not great guitar albums.
“I think that essential guitar albums have to be solid throughout. I don’t care if the guitar playing is technically proficient or amazing – the feel has to be there. You need spirit and attitude, but you also have to say something different. The guitarist has to evoke an emotion somehow, and that usually comes from being unique. If you've just practiced scales over and over, you're not going to make a statement."
His picks certainly underscore a diverse listening library: Everything from Black Flag to Al Green to The Smiths is represented. "I think it's pretty obvious that Fall Out Boy's style of music doesn't come from just one genre," he says. "As a guitarist, I like players that are all over the map. When we get down to the nitty-gritty, essential guitar albums are ones that, for me, inspired me to play. They made me look at my relationship with the guitar in a new or important way, no matter what kind of music it might come from."
On the following pages, Joe Trohman runs down his picks for 11 essential guitar albums. For Fall Out Boy tour dates, visit the band's official website.